The Victorian Government supports – in full or in principle – the 20 recommendations made by the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce. It has committed to work progressively towards implementing them.
On 13 May 2021, Government released its response to the Report of the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce 2020. The Government’s response is available to view and download here:
Initiatives that Government will now work towards include developing a code of conduct that better protects on-demand workers, and looking into whether a dedicated Victorian support agency could help workers and businesses find clarity around work status and resolve disputes.
The Inquiry, and many people who participated in it, thought that change should be led at a national level through reforms to national work laws.
However, bearing in mind that efforts at a national level might not happen, or could be delayed, the Victorian Government will consider measures it can take at a state level to implement the Inquiry’s recommendations.
The Victorian Government will also continue to advocate for strengthened and improved national laws.
The Inquiry was commissioned by the Victorian Government in 2018 following widespread concern over the wages and conditions offered to workers in the gig economy. It was chaired by former Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James.
The Inquiry completed its investigations and submitted a report to Government that was published in July 2020. This report is available to view and download here:
Consultation on recommendations
The Victorian Government commissioned the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce in September 2018 in response to concerns about the wages and conditions of people doing on-demand or ‘gig’ work.
The Inquiry was chaired by Natalie James, former Fair Work Ombudsman.
The Inquiry has completed its investigations and submitted a report to Government. The Report was published in July 2020. It is available to view and download here:
The Report of the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce makes 20 recommendations aimed at better protecting on-demand workers.
We invited Victorians to make submissions to Government about all or some of the recommendations in the Report. The consultation process was chaired by Mr Nick Staikos MP, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer.
The deadline for providing written submissions was 13 October 2020.
Submissions have been treated in confidence. This allowed people to frankly share their views.
Thank you to all who took the time to share their views with us. Government considered all feedback received before responding to the Inquiry’s Report.
The Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce
You might have heard about a new way of providing services called 'gig' work, also called 'on-demand' work.
Put simply, it’s when we use technology to match people that need work done with people who want to do that work.
It has become a big part of how we live. Australians use apps or go online to have food delivered, get a ride somewhere, or book a neighbour to mow their lawns.
Some people say that working on-demand gives people freedom and choice to decide how and when to work. Others suggest that it also improves services for consumers and helps businesses to reach more customers.
But there are also some concerns over whether people doing gig work are being paid enough, whether the work is safe, or whether there are adequate protections for workers.
The Victorian Government set up the Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce to consider all of these matters.
Over 18 months, the Inquiry carried out an extensive consultation process. It analysed 94 written submissions and met with more than 200 participants, who provided valuable information and feedback.
It gained extra information in documents and correspondence from a number of organisations.
The Inquiry also commissioned a national survey to help fill gaps in existing knowledge about the on-demand workforce. The data collected gave the Inquiry insight into the characteristics of people working on demand, and quantifiable data about their experiences as gig workers.
The Inquiry submitted its report to Government in June 2020. The Report is available to view and download here:
The Victorian Government has responded to the Report and supports all 20 of the Inquiry’s recommendations, either in full or in principle.
Survey reveals true size of Australia's on-demand workforce
24 June 2020
Australia’s largest ever published survey regarding on-demand work shows that 7.1 per cent of respondents were working through a digital platform at the time they were surveyed or had done so in the previous 12 months.
The survey of more than 14,000 people was commissioned by the Victorian Government to support the Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce. While there has been much debate about the gig workforce, little has been known about its size or characteristics.
The survey was carried out by researchers from Queensland University of Technology, the University of Adelaide and University of Technology Sydney.
The sample of people surveyed represented the Australian population by age, gender and location.
Download the final report of the research findings here:
highlights themes from Inquiry submissions at Youth Summit 2019
5 April 2019
One theme emerging from the submissions to the Inquiry into the On-demand Workforce has been the value of flexibility and the capacity for on-demand work to meet a diverse range of personal needs and lifestyles, said Inquiry chair Natalie James at the Victorian Youth Summit 2019 in April.
She explained that some submissions noted that there are low barriers to entry for some parts of this sector, and suggested gig work can provide options for young people struggling to find paid work through traditional employment arrangements.
However, she said submissions have also highlighted the effects on individual workers – such as insecure work, or the lack of superannuation and leave.
Download the full transcript of Natalie James’s speech here:
Natalie James, chair of the Inquiry
The Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce was chaired by Natalie James.
Natalie James is also a partner at Deloitte, where she works with businesses to help them create fairer and more positive workplaces.
Natalie was Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman for five years, from 2013-2018. As Ombudsman, she led public debate about whether businesses are obeying work laws in Australia.
Natalie also has experience working for the federal government. Before she became Ombudsman, she was Chief Counsel at the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and oversaw the development of workplace laws such as the Fair Work Act.
In 2018, the Council of Small Business named Natalie as a Small Business Champion for her work helping businesses to understand and obey complex work laws.
The Inquiry and the Chair are supported by a Secretariat provided by Industrial Relations Victoria.
Terms of Reference
The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry are as follows:
To inquire into, consider and report to the Minister for Industrial Relations on:
A. The extent and nature of the on-demand economy in Victoria, for the purposes of considering its impact on both the Victorian labour market and Victorian economy more broadly, including but not limited to:
I. the legal or work status of persons working for, or with, businesses using online platforms;
II. the application of workplace laws and instruments to those persons, including accident compensation, payroll or similar taxes, superannuation and health and safety laws;
III. whether contracting or other arrangements are being used to avoid the application of workplace laws and other statutory obligations; and
IV. the effectiveness of the enforcement of those laws.
B. In making recommendations, the Inquiry should have regard to matters including:
I. the capacity of existing legal and regulatory frameworks to protect the rights of vulnerable workers;
II. the impact on the health and safety of third parties such as consumers and the general public, for example, road safety;
III. responsibility for insurance coverage and implications for State revenue;
IV. the impacts of on-demand services on businesses operating in metropolitan, regional or rural settings;
V. regulation in other Australian jurisdictions and in other countries, including how other jurisdictions regulate the on-demand workforce;
VI. Australia’s obligations under international law, including International Labour Organization Conventions;
VII. the limitations of Victoria’s legislative powers over industrial relations and related matters and the capacity to regulate these matters; and
VIII. the ability of any Victorian regulatory arrangements to operate effectively
in the absence of a national approach.
The Inquiry received submissions (including some supplementary submissions) from more than 90 people and organisations, including workers, unions, businesses and academics.
Most of the submissions have been published below.
If a submitter requested that their submission be partially confidential, the confidential parts of the submission have not been published.
If a submitter requested that the submission be wholly confidential, the submission has not been published.
Text has been redacted in some submissions to remove personally identifying details, and to comply with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic).
Text from some submissions has been redacted to remove potentially defamatory material.
The views stated in the submissions published are those of the authors of each submission and not the Inquiry, the chair of the Inquiry or of the Victorian Government.